Saturday 2 October 2021

A wet day didn't bother the Mallards, Gadwalls, Tufted Ducks, Shovellers and Pochards in Kensington Gardens.

A Shoveller drake at the island preened his fine new breeding plumage next to the large orange buoy which has been there for months, for reasons unknown to me.

There weren't many people in the park, so the Greylag Geese could come up to Rotten Row to eat the fine new turf laid along the verge of the horse track.

Some Mute Swans on the Long Water preferred reeds, which must make tough eating.

One of the teenagers flapped mighty wings -- but so far I haven't seen them making any attempt to fly.

The male Peregrine on the tower looked wet and miserable.

A Robin in the Flower Walk had a raindrop on its head.

A Blackbird sheltered under a bench in the Rose Garden.

During a dry interval the Coal Tit near the bridge came out to take several pine nuts from my hand -- a welcome return as I haven't seen it since February.

I've seen a report of a ringed Coal Tit that lived for 12 years, though that must be thoroughly exceptional.

Why are there several pubs called The Magpie and Stump? It was also the name of the Arts & Crafts architect and designer C.R. Ashbee's house in Cheyne Row, Chelsea.

The pigeon-eating Lesser Black-Backed Gull was mooching around after a heavy meal ...

... allowing a Carrion Crow to finish off the remains. The crow can eat much more easily than the gull, since it can hold the pigeon down with its strong prehensile feet.

The second pigeon-eating gull -- the Lesser Black-Back with grey legs -- dangled its prey over the kerb of the lake to make it easier to rip bits off.

A Grey Heron posed elegantly on the dead willow near the Italian Garden.

The heron in the Dell had a faceoff with a Moorhen on the small waterfall.

Moorhens have a habit of making quick temporary nests just to have a comfortable place to sit.


  1. It's funny to see that Moorhens build their own furniture!

    Maybe Magpies like posing on stumps? They certainly look picturesque.

    How old must that Coal Tit be, I wonder?

    1. The Coal Tit at the bridge is at least three years old. It must be the same one all the time, as they are naturally very shy and have to learn gradually to trust you by watching other birds come to your hand and get good things until they eventually take the plunge.

  2. Good to see a Shoveler back in full regalia. I'm just back from a few days birding in Norfolk & didn't see any in full plumage despite seeing a fair number of them at places like Cley & Titchwell. Only really Mallard & Gadwall in full drees, while Teal, wigeon & Pintail still rather dowdy.

    1. I was also surprised to see that Mandarin drake in his full finery. But I suppose individuals vary. That is clearly the case with Tufted drakes, some of which now have almost pure white sides while others have barely begun to change.